Mar 16 2013

Surrendering my shoulds…


This past week hasn’t been an easy one for me.  I had a bad case of the shoulds and it was time to face reality. Surrendering our shoulds in life is never easy and this past week I came toe-to-toe with some shoulds that I’ve struggled with for the past several months.  In the midst of this emotional battle I’ve begun to realize that I’ve lived in my own state of denial and it is time to pack up and move on.

I have a tendency to being somewhat (OK…Will would say very) black and white about some things.  After two weeks of no longer taking my prescription pain medication I got it into my head that I “should” be back to “normal” (yes somehow I lost the reality that normal is only a setting on the dryer).  Because of this “should thinking” I spent more time kicking myself and emotionally and physically exhausted but struggled with dealing with why I was feeling that way.

Here are some of the shoulds that were hounding me this week…

I should be able to drive 14 miles to Bible Study in the morning, be there for two hours, run errands on the way home and still have enough energy to clean my house in the afternoon and do an art project with the boys!

I SHOULD be able to do the dishes without taking a rest break!

I SHOULD be able to handle writing every night after running myself into the ground each day!

I SHOULD be able to keep up with cleaning my house so that it looks nice when someone drops by to say hi while having meetings and rehearsals five out of seven days this past week!

I SHOULD be able to bring the groceries in from the car without needing my young sons to help me carry the gallon of milk from the car to the house!

I SHOULD be able to keep a house organized and in order most of the time while functioning on exhaustion and having two sons and myself who struggle with living with ADHD!

I SHOULD be able to be a cleaning tornado going through my boys’ rooms when there is nowhere to walk in them anymore and I just need to get it done!

I SHOULD be able to get through the day without needing to lay down and rest for an hour after lunch to be able to function, think, and move with less pain for the rest of the day!

I SHOULDN’T feel overwhelmed by a schedule that is light for most other families!


This list could go on and on…and it did when I brought it to God in a moment of pure exhaustion and frustration and anger.  I had lost all perspective.  I was actually shocked when it hit me, after a couple of days of depression, that I am not only grieving the loss of my husband and the kids’ Daddy, I am grieving the loss of what I could do before and the new limitations that both losses have put on my life.

I need to grieve my physical injuries?  But that didn’t make sense!  I am so thankful that God brought me through the accident!

But then I realized that I had been so focused on other things that I hadn’t come to grips with the reality that I will have some physical and strength limitations for a very long time…very possibly the rest of my life here on earth.  Tears streamed down my face as that reality began to sink into my mind and heart.  I was sure that pure determination and refusing to look at that possibility would make it go away.  But there I was stretched out across my bed with my face buried in my pillow crying out to God asking “Why”?

God rescued me from the accident.  He protected my spinal cord and vascular artery so that I am still here and still able to walk, talk, think, drive, play, type, and do most things to be Mommy and live a full life.  But something got muddled in my mind back in the beginning, and I had it in my head that by now I would be fine (as in cured).  I would be able to do the things I used to do without a problem.

Yesterday was the eight month anniversary of the day of our tragic accident. Yes, I missed Will.  But more than that I came face to face with this new grief process that I hadn’t considered before.

I need to take the time to grieve and surrender the physical limitations I do have and need to learn to live with instead of spending precious emotional and physical energy fighting against all the time.  I need to stop seeing the need to stop and rest as a bad thing…as something that makes me “less” of the person that I used to be.  I need to remember that the fact that I need to stop more often and rest doesn’t mean I am not productive.  It means I have an opportunity to stop and think…to stop and pray…to stop and thank God in the middle of my activities.

In helping me to surrender my anger, resentment and denial of my physical limitations, God is helping me to see my life differently…to see rest differently.  He is reminding me that He created rest for a reason.  The need for it isn’t a punishment or a sign of great character weakness on my part…it is a sign that I need HIM.  I need to stop and lean on Him.  And when I think about it that way…I realize that these limitations I have fought can actually be a gift when used and viewed through His eyes of Grace.

28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 ESV

Not what I expected.  But tonight as I continue processing this new way of thinking and living, I am awed once again at how God can take something so painful and difficult and turn it into a blessing that will help me to grow and deepen my relationship with Him.  I am slowly learning to accept this gift of the need for rest.

Unwrapping His Grace at surrenderedlivingnow.com

As I slow down and rest…I can soak in each precious moment of each day with these precious children God has brought through the accident too. There is so much that I can and am learning from Him when I accept His gift and rest and slow down.

And in the process God is reminding me that His yoke isn’t a yoke filled with shoulds.

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30 NIV

Are there some shoulds you need to surrender?  He is ready to help you do it.

It would mean so much to me to hear from you in the comments.  And as you share know that I will be praying for you and will respond to your comment within three days.

Sitting at the feet of Jesus with so much to learn,

Mary Joy

Be sure to check out the amazing handcrafted jewelry at Recycled Memories as you do your Easter shopping.  Each bead is handmade and beautiful!  I loved the one Janice made for us and she can make them using your favorite Scripture verses!!!

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About the author

Mary Joy

I am a broken daughter of God and a work in progress. I am passionate about encouraging women to embrace God's grace and faithfulness as I discover and share His faithfulness, grace and even joy in the messiness of my journey as a widowed (less than 2 yrs), homeschooling mom with a missionary's heart. I am in awe of how God fills me up and carries me through each day. My Heavenly Father leads me as I continue to parent and home school my two recovering and very active boys and encourage my beautiful teenage step-daughter (long distance) during her first year in of college. In every moment I see incredible evidence of God's healing love, grace and faithfulness. I am so blessed to be the creator, manager, and an author of Unwrapping His Grace as I lean on my Savior to lead us in this special web-ministry.

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  • Gina Marie

    May God walk you through this time of learning how to embrace the changes in your life and body…

    It’s true that you will never be the same again – - – but you are being stretched – your roots in the LORD are going even deeper – and your faith has been encouraged to grow even stronger as you learn more and more that God is your Everything….

    You are a treasure – and through this post, it helps me know how to pray for you in your journey, sis.

    I love you – to God be the GLORY!

    Gina Marie

    • http://www.surrenderedlivingnow.com/ Mary Joy Pershing

      Thank you so much. God really is walking me through this time of learning and I my relationship with Him is growing so much deeper as I am put in situation after situation of needing Him and leaning on Him more and more. And I am learning to be grateful for these trials because of the gift of growing closer to Him comes from going through them.

      You are such a treasure too. I know you relate to what I am going through and being able to share openly and encourage one another is such a huge blessing too.

      Thank you for your prayers. They mean a lot. You are in my prayers too, sweet friend!


      Mary Joy